New Kerrsday Treasures

Some new arrivals for this Kerrsday.

The first three are all promo photos taken of Jim inside the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm.

The black and white photo has a newspaper headline attached to it on the back that translates in English as saying, “Jim Kerr in Simple Minds visited Stockholm Stadium on Saturday, where the band will play on June 9.”

The three photos have dates stamped on them. The two colour ones are dated April 1st, 1989, (a date of March 31st has been crossed out on one of them). The B&W one is dated March 31st, 1989. Checking what day of the week it was then, it tells me Saturday was April 1st.

It would seem from this that Jim made the trip esp. to get the promo shots done at the stadium. I was sceptical, but it is definitely the stadium in Stockholm that he’s been photographed inside.

Finally, the smaller photo (actual size is 7×5 inches) of an even younger Jim was taken backstage at Kant Kino on March 3rd, 1980.

Timely photos, all of them. (He looks a right poser in the one the Swedish newspaper chose to print to promote the concert. Lol)

Mel’s The Master In “Fundee” Dundee – 17/12/1982

I started listening to this one last night. And even compared to Aberdeen – which they played the following night – WOW! Jesus! This gig is just BRAW! Mel is just playing like a demon!

I had been lamenting some, over what was Mike’s last gig with them a few weeks prior (Nov. 7th in Toronto), having listened to it a short while ago…but then you hear Mel again and it all makes sense. I can very much hear from this gig why Jim would say stuff like “with Mel behind me, I feel 10 feet tall”.

The band are tight, Jim is just so impassioned and “up”! I think the version of I Travel on this bootleg is the best (in terms of band performance and Jim’s vocal delivery – rather than of sound quality) I’ve ever heard. Certainly of the ones I’ve heard from the New Gold Dream tour of ‘82/‘83 at least. A real braw version of Celebrate too.

But the thing that really got hold of me most was Mel’s drumming. I mean, yes, in some ways. esp compared to Mike or Brian, Mel is quite a showman in terms of licks and fills – but it is those very licks and fills that are making this gig sound so frigging amazing! And I can hear from that…from the attitude and bombast and level of musicianship he brought in at that time why Jim’s confidence seemed to soar as a consequence. I don’t think it’s any accident that connection between Mel’s coming into the band full time, his playing and Jim’s growing level of confidence and strengthening connection with the crowd.

I listened up to the end of Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel and then stopped. I wanted to savour the rest for tonight – as tempted as I was to have Hunter And The Hunted play. I was starting to drift off into sleep and I didn’t want to miss parts of the gig.

It is a strange kind of thing to be laying in bed, listening to a gig that’s nearly 40 years old and just quietly cheering and silently mouthing “this is fucking AWESOME! Listen to them! Oh, Jim! You are just so frigging HOT AF! God, I adore you!” And then I stop listening and lay there waiting for sleep to envelop me, chanting “please let me dream of him, please let me dream of him!”

I rarely ever do. And if I do…it’s never of me in the crowd at a gig in 1982. I wish I could have lucid dreams! Or actually could control or pilot what I dream about! I’d be in 1982 – or even 1981 – every night of the week! Lol. Hanging out backstage, being a wallflower, praying Jim would take even a modicum of notice of me, only to see him make his escape with some Amazonian brunette on his arm and wish for all the world that I was taller, slimmer and much more beautiful than I am.

Anyway…”to be or not to be” – the rest of the gig awaits the night.

Maudlin In Melbourne – Bootleg 1/10/1982

I started listening to a new bootleg last night (new to me, at least!) of Simple Minds in Melbourne on the New Gold Dream tour of 1982. It’s their second night in Melbourne (having performed the previous night at the Latrobe University campus) and their fourth night on the Australian leg of the tour.

It seemed to start out well enough. They started (or at least the bootleg started) out with Love Song. They then went into Colours Fly. Jim was trying to keep his voice real low but would give up and would end up screeching. He sounded a bit off and was delivering bum notes here and there.

Given the subject matter of his latest post, I feel a bit pernickety for bringing up his vocal performance – esp. from a gig that’s nearly 40 years old. But…just humour me. I wasn’t around for these things the first time and even though it’s a retrospective critique, these gigs are heard with fresh ears – my fresh ears! I never really took a HUGE amount of interest in bootlegs, (just as a side note, WHY ARE bootlegs called “bootlegs”? I must look that up!) I could never understand why anyone bothered with them because they invariably sounded shit. Either the recording was shit, or the band was crap…or both.

Perhaps it is purely through the now almost completely dead live music scene do I find myself now exploring these recordings more? A combination of that, and of “newer” unearthed gigs being shared on YouTube for our collective listening pleasure that has resulted in this.

Anyways, back to the gig. Jim intros the next song in the usual way he did then “from New Gold Dream, this is called Hunter And The Hunted” – even his intro sounded lacklustre. But he had a propensity of sounding like that back then – the only time his nerves and the stage fright were detectable and audible was when he spoke.

As I listened intently, I couldn’t tell whether he was delivering it more impassioned than usual, or more despondently. His vocal was again off kilter. Not in a way it normally would be! You know, he’s diving around that stage like a whirling dervish. Taking lunges and leaps and skulking about like a panther. Somehow both balletic and yet acrobatic at the same time. More fluid in his moves than the robotic, stilted jerky movements he’d make a couple of years previous. He was at that point very athletic physically in his stage performance. Yet despite that, his vocal performance rarely faltered. Yes, he’d get breathless at times but what came across most was the passion in his performance. He rarely ever seemed to give a bum note.

It seemed about half-way through the song that…he just wasn’t feeling it. Or at least I detected more pain in his voice than passion. He seemed to not really be “in the moment”. It was feeling like he didn’t want to be there. Or at least that, it was getting hard to be there and be “on”. He was still trying to deliver impassioned performance. “Only with you life moves so fucking fast!”

At the end of the song and after the “thank you” he says rather forlorn “everything’s so fast”. It sounded so down! I winced when he said it and was just thinking “aaawww, Jim! What was happening to you that night, beautiful man?”

The gig was starting to sound flat. I couldn’t tell whether it was being projected through Jim, or whether the band were starting to sound flat and then that was having a knock-on effect on Jim, vice versa, or if it was just what I was feeling listening to it.

It’s hard to get a full idea of things. Without the visuals to get any visual indicators of how he was feeling it is all down to interpreting how he was feeling and his performance via voice alone. The crowd are still very responsive. They seem receptive enough.

To me, compared to the other gigs I’ve listened to lately – something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe he was just cold? Lol (I’m being flippant.)

As he intros Someone Somewhere In Summertime he says “will soon be warm here”. Sleep then got the better of me. Me drifting off while laying on my left side, looking at my wall of Kerrs inwardly thinking, “What was up, Jim? What was going on with you that night? Just…not feeling it? Geez, you’re beautiful…” and then …. *lights out*

I’m not sure I want to listen to the rest. But as an object in full retrospective critique, I guess it would be prudent to do so.

Let me know what you guys think. Is it just me? (Most likely. Lol. It usually always is “just me”…)

Thanks again to Stuart Greaves for uploading the audio.

What I Miss In Lockdown – Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul

Viewing art with my own eyes. Exhibitions. Galleries.

Being able to see this.

I think I’d have flown down south to get to London to see this exhibition.

A virtual tour is not the same. But it will have to do. Even as a virtual tour, I find this deeply moving. I can only imagine how I’d have felt in the exhibition space. I know how I was at the last Tracey Emin exhibition I went to.

I never thought that visual art would affect me like that.

Click the image below to see the virtual tour…

New Fforde Grene – Simple Minds’ Debut In England, 1979

It’s a daily ritual to check whether “new” content under the banner of “Simple Minds” has been uploaded to YouTube. And I try to remember to check every morning. Sometimes (not very often, granted!) it slips my mind but I usually check at least once every day.

This morning I was on top of it pretty early and went to YT for a quick gander and this immediately caught my eye. Initially because I love seeing those photos of Jim in that white jaiket. For a young man of 20, he just looks “the biz”, you know?! He’s just meant to be right where he is at that moment the photo was taken. Right place, right time, right look, right man.

Then I see that it’s Fforde Grene and I think “Oh, it’ll sound shit! A tape of a tape. Copy of a copy of a copy, handed down over the past 42 years. Hmmm – but we’ll see. Let’s give it a quick listen.”

First thing that hits me is…I can hear what Jim’s singing during the original version of Scar! “Why did you change the lyrics, Jim?” Questions I eternally…INTERNALLY ask. I wish I could go back and ask him 40 years ago, instead of wanting to ask him now and expecting or hoping he’ll remember something from that far back in time and give an erudite answer.

I arrive back from my dwam to see if the sound of the crowd could be detected. I’m listening through my iPad Mini, just out through its speaker but I can’t really detect any sound of the crowd.

Then Here Comes The Fool comes in and I can tell almost immediately that it isn’t a version I’ve heard before. If this IS genuinely a recording from Fforde Grene, then it’s the best damn version I’ve heard.

I go to Dream Giver to check the date the gig is said to have been recorded from and yep…they played Fforde Grene that night alright! And not only that but it is their debut gig on English soil and one of a few dates before they hit the road supporting Magazine on the Secondhand Daylight Tour.

I got half way through “Fool” before stopping to write this out and post the YT upload. I’ll get back to listening to the rest of the gig this afternoon.

I’m just so happy to hear what is sounding like from the few minutes I heard, a pretty great copy of a really fab gig.

I wish TARDIS’s were real! But seeing as they’re not, this is the next best thing. To all those who put their heads above the parapet and risked being banned from venues, etc, to record these gigs – THANK YOU!

So What Happens Now?

I don’t know. I didn’t talk as much about the “strange relationship” as I wanted to. (But I still talked a fuckload!) It was an odd title. I know he chose it for the Prince song but…I kind of missed the connection between the choice of Prince song and the subject of the taxi driver.

What “strange relationship” exactly? Having to straddle “rock stardom” and “normality“? Was that what it was eluding to?

Or does he write in code…? That could allude (elude?) to a “strange relationship”?

Again…no idea. Anyway, time for bed. I forgot ALL ABOUT posting this. Could have done so hours ago.

Night night.

Weekend WhirliGIG – Tiffany’s, Glasgow, July 14th, 1982

It’s a proper old style bootleg – but a good quality one – from in the crowd rather than the soundboard.

And you get to hear said crowd go mental when Jim intros certain songs, or hear how raucous the applause is when certain songs end. Most of the setlist sparks rapturous applause and reactions, to be fair.

It’s great to hear a recording of 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall from that time. It was on the setlist through the latter part of 1982 – from the summer onwards, but I don’t recall hearing too many recordings of it.

I started listening to it last night but did my usual and started to drift off during King Is White And In The Crowd and came round during Celebrate (the mention of “she rag doll” brought me round, I’m assuming – me obviously thinking “Hey, I’m not with Jim, being his rag doll. Oh, bugger!” Lol).

Also lovely to hear an early appearance of Someone Somewhere (In Summertime), introed by Jim under its WIP title of “Summer Song”. The song was all but complete. Not sure if the repeating of the first verse for the second verse was because at that point Jim hadn’t written the second verse, or that he just made the faux pas he sometimes did (even once fully written and previously performing both different verses) of just mistakenly repeating the first verse.

The gig was just a few days after Jim’s 23rd birthday, and his voice was just sounding sooo amazing. I absolutely ADORE the way he was sounding at that point in time. There was a real richness to his tone at that point. It’s probably why I fell asleep in all honesty – just his gorgeous voice serenading me to sleep.

I will pick it up from King Is White this evening and listen to the rest of the gig.

And I just noticed the rest of the setlist. An encore of Promised You A Miracle – no surprise there, but also one for 70 Cities?! Wow! I mean, it’s a real vocal challenge for Jim at the START of the gig, let alone at the END of it! Bloody hell!

I honestly can’t imagine what I would have been like being able to see them (him!) then. I think anyone around me would have run the risk of slipping on my drool. Lol – I think I need to find an appropriate gif…

Anyway! Before I end up drowning in a pool of my own drool thinking about Jim at this gig, I better go!

Enjoy!

Hanging Around – With My Man In Germany

Back in May I had a chat with Ronnie Gurr at Hanging Around Books about a photo of Jim that I would have liked to have gotten a copy of from the photographer who took it, but I looked into their prices (without enquiring with them directly) and saw they wanted over £1000 for a print!! 😱😱

The conversation moved on to the topic of a Record Mirror cover, and the use of a photo of Brian McGee in his undies that Ronnie had taken when with the band on tour in Germany in the late summer of 1980.

He said to me “this (see below) is the photo I submitted for the cover, but they went with the one of Brian instead.”

I sat looking at the screen in a mixture of awe and disbelief. Awe that such a fabulous photo of Jim had been stowed away unseen for so many years, and disbelief that the editor at Record Mirror snubbed the use of this photo for one of Brian in his togs!

Not only that, but the music mag then goes on to erroneously name Brian as “Mike McNeil”. Geezo! They don’t even get the erroneous name correct!

Anyway, 40 years down the line, I was in fangirl raptures to see such a wonderful photo of Jim. Since seeing it, I have been hankering for a copy and over these months I have every now and then been virtually nudging Ronnie for a copy of the photo.

AT LAST! The day arrived yesterday. I received three photos in total. The photo above of Jim which measures 10×8 inches, the black and white group photo below of the band on the flight staircase, which measures 7×5 inches, and the one below that of the band by the Berlin Wall, which measures 6×4 inches.

All three are wonderful, new and fairly rare treasures. All three photos were taken by Ronnie. But of the three, of course that one of Jim (for me) is the most highly prized. It is now in a frame by my bedside. The b&w band photo is framed and sitting atop the other bedside drawer.

If you would like to get prints yourself, you can contact Ronnie via email at: hangingaroundbooks@gmail.com

All of the photos featured in the Hanging Around Books photozines are available to order as prints. You can view the catalogue of books available by visiting hangingaroundbooks.com (just click the link!)